ISLAMABAD-On November 4th Italy celebrates a day of national unity to commemorate the allied victory in World War I and to pay tribute to the Italian Armed Forces , past and present.  The ambassador of Italy Stefano Pontecorvo and the Defence attaché colonel Giuseppe Potenza hosted a remarkable function at a local hotel in Islamabad. The Air Marshal Muhammad Haseeb Paracha was the chief guest while Lt .Gen Imran Majeed and Maj. Gen Salim Ahmed Khan also graced the occasion as prominent guests. The event commenced with the National Anthem of both countries and a cake was also cut. Some of the guests who attended the event included ambassadors, politicians, government officials and business community representatives. There was a clash of events as the Italian Armed Forces Day and Algerian National Day reception was held on the same day and at the same time. Majority of the participants were trying to rush from one event to other. It made the atmosphere of the event a bit uncomfortable for the participants. It would be more appropriate if all the ambassadors would look into such inconveniences. The dean of the diplomatic corps should reserve different dates by mutual consensus.

The outgoing defence Attaché of Italy colonel Giorgio Raino and incoming Defence Attaché Giuseppe Potenza with other honourable guests were sitting on the stage and were having a lively discussion. The outgoing defence attaché to Pakistan Colonel Giorgio Raino has recently been promoted to the rank of brigadier General. This promotion is in the recognition of his good services to boost defence cooperation between Pakistan and Italy. The roads were blocked as the protest continued in the country in the wake of the Supreme Court’s verdict and it concerned many participants. The prominent business leader of Pakistan and the vice president of SARRC chamber of Commerce Iftikhar Ali Malik waited anxiously for the end of the ongoing road blockage. Mian Mehmood Ahmed who is also the former Vice president of FPCCI and presently the chairman of Pakistan Cotton Ginning Association was also stuck because of the chaos on the roads. As soon as the news of an agreement between the government and protesters was aired, Iftikhar Ali Malik and Mian Mehmood Ahmed proceeded towards Lahore and Rahim Yar Khan.

The current political situation in Pakistan was the main topic of discussion among the participants.  They were grieved on the assassination of Pakistan senior most religio-political figures Maulana Sami ul Haq.  He was known as the Father of Taliban. His death will an impact on the law and order situation inside Pakistan as well as the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. A participant was appreciating the great

victory of Ali Nawaz Awan from NA- 53 Islamabad, he was of the opinion that this young dynamic and energetic leader would lead PTI in the federal capital and will solve the issues of residents in Islamabad in a better manner.

The president of Islamabad chamber of commerce and industry Ahmed Mughal, Senior Vice President Rafat Farid and Vice President Iftikhar Sethi were taking a round of the reception together with a reflection of unity among the three business leaders.

Maj.Gen Salim Ahmed was also there informed that National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) Medical City is setting up a campus in I-17 sector of Islamabad which is an excellent initiative to establish a comprehensive health care system for the general public. One of the participants while commenting on the Prime Minister’s visit to China said that China and Pakistan enjoy deep cordial relations and are old friends and great allies. He said that both the countries had stood by each other through thick and thin and he hoped that China would announce a financial package to help Pakistan overcome the financial crisis.

Air Marshal Muhammad Haseeb Paracha, Tamgha-i- Imtiaz (Military) and Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Military) attended the event as Chief Guest. He was commissioned in GD (P) Branch of Pakistan Air Force in November, 1986. During his career, he has commanded a Fighter Squadron, a Flying Wing, an Operational Air Base and a regional air command. He has also served as Air Attaché in USA. His efforts to safeguard the interest of Pakistan are exceptional. He has a pleasant personality and was engaged in talks with Italian ambassador. Italy and Pakistan are committed to take the existing relationship to new heights.  Pakistan Chief of army staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has recently visited Italy to enhance bilateral defence and security cooperation including potential joint initiatives. General Bajwa also witnessed the demonstrations of Italian defence capabilities, both for land and amphibious operations. Pakistan and Italy have a lot of potential in energy and trade which needs to be explored.

The Italian Defence attaché colonel Giuseppe Potenza and his wife Laura especially arrived in Pakistan to attend the glorious event and meet the people as his predecessor was leaving due to his promotion. He shared his views about the historic day and said that on November 4, Italy celebrates its Defence Day as well as its National Unity Day. 

He mentioned that one hundred years ago, during the first days of November, the signing of the Armistice brought the First World War to an end. But the Great War, the heroism and the sacrifice of soldiers and citizens, and all the related political, cultural and civil events, were also fundamental steps in the process of the construction of national history and Identity, and as a moment of cohesion among the Italians from every region. He thanked and wished best of luck to his predecessor, Colonel Giorgio Raino.

The ambassador of Italy, Stefano Pontecorvo also spoke on the occasion and expressed hope that Pakistan and Italy’s defence cooperation will flourish in the days to come.

–The writer is freelance contributor.


ISLAMABAD: Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo and his wife, Defence Attaché Colonel Giuseppe Potenza and Air Marshal Muhammad Haseeb Paracha in a group photo at the Italian Armed Forces Day reception.